Student teacher challenges Maynooth University over not being allowed graduate

Court told the closure of schools over Covid- 19 meant she could not complete teaching practice
Student teacher challenges Maynooth University over not being allowed graduate

The court heard the naturalised Irish citizen was delayed from starting her teaching practice over having to furnish police clearance reports from both the gardaí and the police in her native Nigeria. Picture: iStock

A student teacher has brought High Court proceedings against Maynooth University over not being allowed graduate as she was not able to complete her teaching practice after the Covid-19 pandemic forced schools to close.

The action has been brought by Ekaette Kwuogor from Cappagh Road, Finglas Dublin 11 who had been studying for a Higher Diploma in Further Education at the university’s Department of Adult and Community Education.

The court heard she was accepted into the programme for the 2019-20 academic year and last January she commenced the teacher training part of her course.

The court heard the naturalised Irish citizen was delayed from starting her teaching practice over having to furnish police clearance reports from both the gardai and the police in her native Nigeria.

The court heard there was a delay in the issuing of the Nigerian police report, the provision of which was a prerequisite before she could commence the teaching practice of her course.

Arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic schools everywhere were closed last March and she and her classmates could not continue their teaching practice modules.

Ms Kwuogor could not graduate without completing teaching experience 

In April she was informed by the college she could not graduate this year as she had not had sufficient opportunity to gain teaching experience on placement for an appropriate assessment to take place.

She would have to come back and complete her course in the 2020-21 academic year.

She appealed the decision not to allow her graduate, but has not received any word of the the outcome of that appeal.

She claims that the delay in making the decision is inordinate, inexcusable and in breach of her rights to natural and constitutional justice.

The court heard she attended every class, carried out every assignment and did every essay required of her, and was a model student.

She even started her teaching practice when other members of her class were on holidays, her counsel Femi Daniyan Bl instructed by solicitor Geoffrey Nwadike, said.

Counsel said his client was particularly concerned over the failure to make a decision in relation to her appeal as the new academic year was about to commence.

In proceedings against the National University of Ireland, Maynooth Ms Kwuogor seeks various orders including one compelling the college to make a decision in respect of her appeal.

She also seeks declarations that she is entitled to a decision or a time frame from the University as to when her appeal has been finalised.

The matter came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan, in an ex-parte application on Monday.

The judge directed that the application for judicial review be made on notice to the university.

The matter will return before the court later this week.

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